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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningPractice Room(Moderator: blast) Forget quality, listen to the volume!
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Burgerbob

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« Reply #20 on: Jun 08, 2017, 07:05PM »

NO ONE under ANY circumstance should play louder than their tone quality dictates!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Bad dog.  No Biscuits.

...Geezer

Except in practice, which is how you expand your dynamic range.

As to the OP,

As always, playing the highest dynamic should be a choice. If the choice is to play it all the time without question, then the choice is probably wrong. Some moments should be loud, some should be louder, some should be loudest (same goes for lower dynamics, too).

Audiences (and judges) will quickly tire of anything that stays in the same zone for too long, and that goes doubly for loud upon loud.
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« Reply #21 on: Jun 08, 2017, 08:13PM »

Except in practice, which is how you expand your dynamic range.

As to the OP,

As always, playing the highest dynamic should be a choice. If the choice is to play it all the time without question, then the choice is probably wrong. Some moments should be loud, some should be louder, some should be loudest (same goes for lower dynamics, too).

Audiences (and judges) will quickly tire of anything that stays in the same zone for too long, and that goes doubly for loud upon loud.

Nope. Not even in practice. I don't want to train my chops to think it's okay to sound bad. So I practice loud up to the point where the tone starts to break up and quickly back off and stay just under the break point. It's never satisfactory to allow the chops to maintain a bad sound for any length of time.

If you started long tones and immediately experienced a double-buzz on a certain note, would you continue with that long tone like it was a great-sounding note? I wouldn't. I would either back way down on dynamic to the point where the double-buzz stopped or stop the note altogether immediately so the chops wouldn't train that it's okay to double-buzz. I would then re-set and try the note again with a different shape to my chops and see if that worked.

...Geezer
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2017, 04:42AM by Geezerhorn » Logged
bigbassbone1

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« Reply #22 on: Jun 10, 2017, 02:18AM »

Nope. Not even in practice. I don't want to train my chops to think it's okay to sound bad. So I practice loud up to the point where the tone starts to break up and quickly back off and stay just under the break point. It's never satisfactory to allow the chops to maintain a bad sound for any length of time.

If you started long tones and immediately experienced a double-buzz on a certain note, would you continue with that long tone like it was a great-sounding note? I wouldn't. I would either back way down on dynamic to the point where the double-buzz stopped or stop the note altogether immediately so the chops wouldn't train that it's okay to double-buzz. I would then re-set and try the note again with a different shape to my chops and see if that worked.

...Geezer


Ummmmm..... you HAVE to sound bad at various points in the practice room..... the first time you tried playing a trombone did you immediately stop because it didn't sound like Alessi? When you first began practice high register did you only ever play up to notes that you thought sounded "good"? How about when you first practiced double tongueing? Did you give up because it was a mess? Of course not. (I assume!  :D )
I believe if you only ever sound good in the practice room you are doing it wrong. You have to experiment, push the boundries, figure out how to make bad sounds turn into good sounds. The way to improve on a bad sound is not by ignoring it. I think Burgerbob is totally correct, push the limits of your volume in the practice room. Work at making the top levels sound nice.
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« Reply #23 on: Jun 10, 2017, 02:46AM »

Lips don't think.
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« Reply #24 on: Jun 10, 2017, 04:34AM »

Pushing the boundaries momentarily and sustaining bad stuff are two different things.

Depends on your definition of "think".

...Geezer
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« Reply #25 on: Jun 10, 2017, 04:49AM »


Ummmmm..... you HAVE to sound bad at various points in the practice room..... the first time you tried playing a trombone did you immediately stop because it didn't sound like Alessi? When you first began practice high register did you only ever play up to notes that you thought sounded "good"? How about when you first practiced double tongueing? Did you give up because it was a mess? Of course not. (I assume!  :D )
I believe if you only ever sound good in the practice room you are doing it wrong. You have to experiment, push the boundries, figure out how to make bad sounds turn into good sounds. The way to improve on a bad sound is not by ignoring it. I think Burgerbob is totally correct, push the limits of your volume in the practice room. Work at making the top levels sound nice.

I completely agree.  I tell my students that in the practice room you must be working on things that do not sound good so you can improve them.  1/2 of practice time should be devoted to working on growth and the other 1/2 to fine tuning.  With beginners, I always warn them that they will sound awful -- and that's okay.  And it's going to take practice and effort to go from awful to bad, and then from bad to mediocre, etc.  So, just understand that and work on improving every time you play the horn.

--Andy in OKC
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bigbassbone1

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« Reply #26 on: Jun 10, 2017, 05:03AM »

Lips don't think.


You know..... I think you might be right! Actually neither do feet!
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timothy42b
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« Reply #27 on: Jun 10, 2017, 05:03AM »

Heard at a short lecture recently:

Quote
If you sound good, you're not practicing.  You're showing off.
 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #28 on: Jun 10, 2017, 05:06AM »

Sorry, but not when it comes to things like a double-buzz or cracked tone from over-blowing. Sustaining those bad sounds only makes them harder to part with. I might otherwise agree with learning how not to sound bad by working through sounding bad in the process in the areas of intonation, articulation, musicality, etc.

Still, we should strive to "show off" all the time. Every note should be the prettiest note we can make.

But hey, whatever works for you guys & yours...

...Geezer
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« Reply #29 on: Jun 10, 2017, 05:08AM »


Ummmmm..... you HAVE to sound bad at various points in the practice room..... the first time you tried playing a trombone did you immediately stop because it didn't sound like Alessi? When you first began practice high register did you only ever play up to notes that you thought sounded "good"? How about when you first practiced double tongueing? Did you give up because it was a mess? Of course not. (I assume!  :D )
I believe if you only ever sound good in the practice room you are doing it wrong. You have to experiment, push the boundries, figure out how to make bad sounds turn into good sounds. The way to improve on a bad sound is not by ignoring it. I think Burgerbob is totally correct, push the limits of your volume in the practice room. Work at making the top levels sound nice.

With respect, I have to disagree. With a good concept of sound, even young players can produce a fine sound. Youngsters hear other youngsters sounding harsh or uncontrolled and expect to produce a similar result. If they are in an environment where good sounds predominate, they too will produce good sounds. Bad sounds are not a road to good sounds.

You push your best loud sound not a lesser version of it. 'Good' is of course, a subjective term.

British Brass bands 50 years ago, when I first played in them, were not generally as loud as in more recent times.... the world changes.... better or worse ? You decide.

Some orchestras have gone the same way in their brass sections in decibel terms, though professional brass players usually produce controlled and impressive results.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #30 on: Jun 10, 2017, 05:39AM »

With respect, I have to disagree. With a good concept of sound, even young players can produce a fine sound. Youngsters hear other youngsters sounding harsh or uncontrolled and expect to produce a similar result. If they are in an environment where good sounds predominate, they too will produce good sounds. Bad sounds are not a road to good sounds.

You push your best loud sound not a lesser version of it. 'Good' is of course, a subjective term.

British Brass bands 50 years ago, when I first played in them, were not generally as loud as in more recent times.... the world changes.... better or worse ? You decide.

Some orchestras have gone the same way in their brass sections in decibel terms, though professional brass players usually produce controlled and impressive results.

Chris Stearn

 I am not saying that getting a bad sound in the practice room is the goal. And I am not only talking about loud playing. If you are practicing, really your main focus should be on things you are bad at because of course, you want to improve on your weaknesses. If you sound amazing in the practice room, you are probably not working at things you have issues on. If you have trouble with something, it will sound bad! But that way, you identify what the problem is by listening and then working out how you will fix it. Eventually it will sound good. And at that point you will sound good doing it in the practice room. Then its time to put the majority of your focus on another weak area.

For something like playing loud, if you are bad at it thats fine. The way I would practice it is to find where I am at, so play loudly, record myself etc.... listen to what the problem is. It shouldn't be hard to identify if the sound is uneven, agressive, forced. Once you identify the problem then try the exercise again, but add a new concept, physical motion etc. Just something different that you believe will give a positive result. Go from there.

If you dont sound bad at the start of that though, it would be hard to identify what the actual issues are.

Of course if young players only ever hear bad sounds around them they will probably find a way to produce what they hear, but never attempting to fix your problems for fear of sounding bad in the practice room just makes things worse.

I think you should always aim to make the best sound you are capable of at every point in your playing, but if the best sound you are capable of playing in a particular area of technique (like loud playing) doesn't sound good, it wont improve if you ignore it.
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« Reply #31 on: Jun 10, 2017, 05:55AM »

I am not saying that getting a bad sound in the practice room is the goal. And I am not only talking about loud playing. If you are practicing, really your main focus should be on things you are bad at because of course, you want to improve on your weaknesses. If you sound amazing in the practice room, you are probably not working at things you have issues on. If you have trouble with something, it will sound bad! But that way, you identify what the problem is by listening and then working out how you will fix it. Eventually it will sound good. And at that point you will sound good doing it in the practice room. Then its time to put the majority of your focus on another weak area.

For something like playing loud, if you are bad at it thats fine. The way I would practice it is to find where I am at, so play loudly, record myself etc.... listen to what the problem is. It shouldn't be hard to identify if the sound is uneven, agressive, forced. Once you identify the problem then try the exercise again, but add a new concept, physical motion etc. Just something different that you believe will give a positive result. Go from there.

If you dont sound bad at the start of that though, it would be hard to identify what the actual issues are.

Of course if young players only ever hear bad sounds around them they will probably find a way to produce what they hear, but never attempting to fix your problems for fear of sounding bad in the practice room just makes things worse.

I think you should always aim to make the best sound you are capable of at every point in your playing, but if the best sound you are capable of playing in a particular area of technique (like loud playing) doesn't sound good, it wont improve if you ignore it.


Agreed! But in my head, that doesn't mean working backwards from sustaining sounding bad to eventually sounding good. It means pushing the good till it bumps up against the bad and then backing off, striving to push it a bit further towards good each day. That is as far as sound concept is concerned.

As far as musicality items are concerned, I don't know how we can avoid sounding bad until we sound good - as in learning to improv or multiple-tongue. There are some experimental things I will not do until wife is out of the house. Lol

...Geezer
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« Reply #32 on: Jun 10, 2017, 06:14AM »

I am not saying that getting a bad sound in the practice room is the goal. And I am not only talking about loud playing. If you are practicing, really your main focus should be on things you are bad at because of course, you want to improve on your weaknesses. If you sound amazing in the practice room, you are probably not working at things you have issues on. If you have trouble with something, it will sound bad! But that way, you identify what the problem is by listening and then working out how you will fix it. Eventually it will sound good. And at that point you will sound good doing it in the practice room. Then its time to put the majority of your focus on another weak area.

For something like playing loud, if you are bad at it thats fine. The way I would practice it is to find where I am at, so play loudly, record myself etc.... listen to what the problem is. It shouldn't be hard to identify if the sound is uneven, agressive, forced. Once you identify the problem then try the exercise again, but add a new concept, physical motion etc. Just something different that you believe will give a positive result. Go from there.

If you dont sound bad at the start of that though, it would be hard to identify what the actual issues are.

Of course if young players only ever hear bad sounds around them they will probably find a way to produce what they hear, but never attempting to fix your problems for fear of sounding bad in the practice room just makes things worse.

I think you should always aim to make the best sound you are capable of at every point in your playing, but if the best sound you are capable of playing in a particular area of technique (like loud playing) doesn't sound good, it wont improve if you ignore it.


You cannot identify issues unless you sound bad ??? Really ???

Loud playing can indeed highlight issues of physical incorrectness, but persisting with incorrectness in order to work through to correctness is not a viable pathway and of course, there are many ideas of what is correct.

I have a few physical routines that I use behind a closed door, away from other ears, that help me maintain some physical aspects of playing more easily than simply making music. Time savers.

After more than 40 years of professional playing and more than 25 years of Conservatoire teaching, I can say that most practice time is taken up with musical creation, and finding ways to deliver your concepts... once you know what your concepts are. Far too many players are obsessed with technique for it's own sake.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #33 on: Jun 10, 2017, 09:46AM »

Hmmmmm.... a moderator whose user name is "blast"? What are we to make of THAT? ha hah hahahahahhahahaha
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« Reply #34 on: Jun 10, 2017, 10:01AM »

My high school band director used to always say have presence instead of just being loud. (FWIW he is a tubist and former member of the U.S. Army Field Band)

Plus, I don't get this attitude from some solo trombone players that they must always be heard above everyone else.
The soloist's primary concern is being musical while still considering balance, but it is incumbent upon the ensemble or accompanist to balance to the soloist.
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« Reply #35 on: Jun 10, 2017, 10:08AM »

...they must always be heard above everyone else.

Gee.  I thought that this applied to saxophone players.  When it says "Tenor Saxophone" on the part they interpret that as "Tenor Saxophone Feature". Evil :-P
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« Reply #36 on: Jun 10, 2017, 11:13AM »

Hmmmmm.... a moderator whose user name is "blast"? What are we to make of THAT? ha hah hahahahahhahahaha

 :) :) :) :)
Thought might come up
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« Reply #37 on: Jun 10, 2017, 12:48PM »

Our university orchestra is playing Symphonie Fantastique today. After our sound check, one of the trumpet (not cornet) players complained that in some passages, the trombones were overbalancing them.

All three of us trombones play with proper instrument angles, bells pointed out into the concert hall. For the entire symphony, both trumpets had their bells pointed directing into their stands or at the floor. They were playing so softly that the cornets were louder! Sure, we go for a somewhat boisterous style for this piece, but there's no reason to balance down to improper technique. Bottom line is that we haven't yet gotten the hand, and we'll continue to do what we're doing until the conductor tells us 'SHHHH.'

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« Reply #38 on: Jun 10, 2017, 03:28PM »

You cannot identify issues unless you sound bad ??? Really ???

Loud playing can indeed highlight issues of physical incorrectness, but persisting with incorrectness in order to work through to correctness is not a viable pathway and of course, there are many ideas of what is correct.

I have a few physical routines that I use behind a closed door, away from other ears, that help me maintain some physical aspects of playing more easily than simply making music. Time savers.

After more than 40 years of professional playing and more than 25 years of Conservatoire teaching, I can say that most practice time is taken up with musical creation, and finding ways to deliver your concepts... once you know what your concepts are. Far too many players are obsessed with technique for it's own sake.

Chris Stearn


Well..... kind of, yeah. I mean nothing is really black and white in playing trombone, of course that is not the only way to identify issues, but if something sounds good, how and why would you go about identifying issues? Thats the point of what we do isn't it? To sound good? I would rather spend MORE time practicing things that i am not good at which are easily identifiable because they dont sound good. I am not saying that there is nothing to improve on when something sounds good, but if you only ever practice your strengths behind closed doors you will not get very far.

Yes of course music creation is extremely important, but if you have blindingly obvious flaws in your core technique, you can be as musical as you want and it still wont sound good. You have to be able to be confident actually playing the instrument.... one without the other is pretty useless but to really be able to deliver your concept of sound and music you need to be comfortable and confident that the instrument will respond and behave in a way that you dictate. If you are bad at certain areas of technique then really you are not in complete control of what you are trying to portray on the instrument. If you sound bad when you play loud, suddenly that is a tool not available for you to use in your musical creation. Especially if you never practice it because you struggle to sound good while doing it.
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« Reply #39 on: Jun 12, 2017, 03:43AM »

My high school band director used to always say have presence instead of just being loud. (FWIW he is a tubist and former member of the U.S. Army Field Band)
The soloist's primary concern is being musical while still considering balance, but it is incumbent upon the ensemble or accompanist to balance to the soloist.

I'm not talking about solo passages, where obviously the solo player must be heard above everyone else. But in cases where the objective is to produce a balanced section sound, if I can't physically play as loud as the 1st trombone player, and retain a good quality tone, then they must come down to a volume level which matches. This might only be a small amount, and hardly compromises the dramatic intensity of the music, but it can make a lot of difference to the balance.


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